With 37 million adults in the U.S. fighting kidney disease, mostly caused by diabetes and high blood pressure, dialysis technicians play a vital role in the healthcare system. You can join this high-demand field where you’ll treat patients and operate specialized equipment in as little as three months through a dialysis technician training online program.
This guide will help you find a quality dialysis tech online program and learn more about what to expect. You’ll get details on three of today’s top programs, common course topics, tuition costs, certification requirements, and more. Keep reading to get started on your online dialysis technician training path.
Dialysis Technician Training Online Program Spotlights
Three of the top dialysis technician training online programs are spotlighted below to show you what to expect in a quality program. These programs, chosen for their affordability and flexibility, give you a starting point for finding an accredited program that offers the training and credentials you need for certification and career readiness.
What You’ll Learn in an Online Dialysis Technician Training Program
While every program is slightly different and reflects the strengths of its faculty and facilities, most cover similar topics and essential skills. Through a carefully curated series of virtual lab work, animated simulations, online exercises, and reading assignments, you’ll develop a strong foundation for success as a dialysis technician in today’s growing healthcare field. Five skills and bodies of knowledge you’ll acquire by the end of a dialysis tech online program include:
- A thorough understanding of how to operate and maintain kidney dialysis machines, including testing, recirculation, disinfecting, cleaning, disassembling, and reassembling equipment. You’ll also learn to identify issues with machines and when they are unsafe for use.
- The ability to evaluating and advise patients, including checking vital signs, weight, hemoglobin, and blood sugars. Includes covering the necessary evaluation steps taken before patients start dialysis treatment and monitoring for complications during treatment.
- A strong and positive bedside manner. Includes helping patients cope with negative feelings, learning the signs of patients suffering from abuse, and knowing who to contact during emergencies.
- Working as part of a team with other professionals. Includes preparing patients for treatment, monitoring vital signs, addressing patient concerns, and ensuring all patient information and treatment documentation is complete, accurate, and confidential.
- Knowledge for preparing and educating a specific population of patients who will engage in at-home dialysis treatment on their own.
FAQs About Getting Dialysis Technician Training Online
How long are dialysis technician training programs?
The duration of dialysis technician training varies among schools and largely depends on if the training modules are self-paced or delivered in a synchronous format. Many learners complete dialysis technician training programs in 12 months or less. Depending on your availability, you may be able to finish in as few as three months. Calhoun Community College and Texarkana College’s self-paced programs both give learners up to 24 weeks to complete their courses. Louisiana State University Shreveport’s Dialysis Technician program takes 16-24 weeks.
What are the admissions requirements for dialysis technician online training programs?
Most colleges and universities with dialysis tech online programs require incoming students to possess a high school diploma or GED, but some allow students still in high school to enroll. In general, dialysis technician training online programs are not overly competitive, but they may have limited space. Most also require the following:
- CPR certification (may be included in your program)
- Proof of medical tests (e.g., Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and tuberculosis)
- Criminal background check
How much do online dialysis technician training programs cost?
The cost of dialysis technician training varies by program. While most programs are offered by public institutions, some are through private schools or career training programs. In most cases, public institutions are less expensive than private ones. The three schools highlighted below give an overall idea of the cost of dialysis tech training programs.
Can I complete my dialysis technician training 100% online?
In most cases, you can complete your dialysis tech training online with no on-campus obligations. Some programs require completing hands-on training and an in-person orientation session, often a requirement for hybrid programs like the one at Atlantic Technical College.
Is financial aid available for online dialysis technician training programs?
Most dialysis technician online programs are not for credit, so you may not be eligible for financial aid through FAFSA since Title IV federal aid can only be applied to educational tracks leading to a degree. Thankfully, many programs offer interest-free payment plans to make it easier than paying the whole registration fee upfront. If you currently hold a job, check with your employers regarding a tuition reimbursement program. Private loans may also be an option.
Accreditation for Online Dialysis Technician Training Programs
Regional accreditation is often held by schools offering a range of degree programs in traditional academic areas. National accreditation is usually possessed by trade or vocational schools providing training for students in a handful of career-focused areas.
Many dialysis tech training programs are through community colleges, which often hold regional accreditation through the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Fully-online accredited programs also may have national accreditation from the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC). Check with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for a list of approved accrediting organizations and institutions.
Dialysis technician online programs may also have programmatic accreditation from a recognized healthcare-focused organization such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Not all dialysis technician programs with regional or national accreditation hold programmatic accreditation.
Employment and Salary Outlook for Dialysis Technicians
Professionals with online dialysis technician training can earn a great living soon after completing their programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage of professionals working as dialysis technicians is $44,090. The lowest 10% of earners in this profession make about $28,800 per year, while those in the top 10% earn about $73,370 annually.
The job outlook for professionals with dialysis technician training online looks bright. The BLS projects that the number of dialysis tech positions will grow 8.5% by 2029. This growth will be especially evident in roles where dialysis technicians work with the elderly in part because 38% of patients with kidney failure or disease are over the age of 65. The baby boomer population, individuals born between 1946-1964, is the second-largest living population in the U.S. and also contributes to the increasing demand for dialysis technicians. In addition, cases of Type 2 diabetes also continue to increase in the U.S., which contributes to the number of patients in need of dialysis.
Licensing and Professional Certifications for Dialysis Technicians
While some requirements vary among states, you will need to pass a certification exam to work in the field. The Board of Nephrology Examiners Nursing and Technology (BONENT) offers the Certified Hemodialysis Technician (CHT) exam, a general exam considered the standard in the field. Learners must complete a BONENT-approved training program or have 12 months of clinical experience in the field to sit for this exam. BONENT also administers the Certified Hemodialysis Biomedical Technician (CHBT) exam. Depending on your training and interests, you may wish to earn certification as a Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician (CCHT) exam through the NNCC. There is also the Certified in Clinical Nephrology Technology (CCNT) offered by the National Nephrology Certification Organization (NNCO).
Depending on where you live, you may also need to renew your license every 2-4 years. Dialysis Technician provides details on federal and state certification requirements.
Related Online Healthcare Programs You May Be Interested In
Online Resources for Dialysis Technician Students and Professionals
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
- American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO)
- CCHT Exam Prep Guide from NNCC
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- International Society of Nephrology (ISN)
- Mometrix Certified Hemodialysis Technologist/Technician Practice Exam
- National Association of Nephrology Technicians/Technologists (NANT)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH)
- Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission (NNCC)
- Utopia Career Center YouTube Channel